Undefined flying freehold help

Undefined flying freehold help

Postby grumpyhedgehog » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:29 am

Hi there

I am hoping someone can advise me how we should approach this.

We are currently half way through a loft conversion. Our house is semi detached on one side. During the 60’s our house was extended and the roofs of the properties were joined together. At this point some boards were put up between the properties in the loft using the old roof timbers in our house in order to separate the lofts, thereby creating some space over our boundary which is only accessible from the neighbours side. However it seems that it was never legally defined as a flying freehold. This is causing us the following problems:
- We cannot put our steels on top of the party wall, because doing so makes them stick into the space on the other side of the boards, which the neighbours see as their space. Even though the steels do not stick over the boundary. So they want them removed.

We asked the neighbours before we started work (they had just moved in) whether there was any mention of a flying freehold in their deeds, they said there was not. There is also nothing in our deeds, and it just shows the boundary along the party wall. They had a surveyor around and he said that because it had been like that for some years, it was probably theirs and we should give them some money for the space. Seeing as they have exclusive access, I guess it would be allocated to them via adverse posession?

Our surveyor said that the boundary rises directly over the wall so it was probably ours, but he said he could not deal with the legal issues and we need a solicitor. I contacted a conveyancing solicitor I know and they said that they dont deal in disuptes.

Now clearly we want to avoid this going to court, it think we should use some kind of Alternative Boundary Dispute Resolution and mediation?

So what do I need - a solicitor who can do disputes, a surveyor, or what? How does it work and how much can I expect to pay?

The neighbours are agreeable and we have kept it friendly up until now, so I don't mind giving them some money to make this go away, but frankly we dont have much as our build is already way over budget.

Thanks
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby Roblewis » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:44 pm

Oh the joys of cheap historical solutions :roll:

First are the boards nailed from your side? If so you can remove them and negotiate a new line of junction
Second you can go to the RICS as they do hold a list of competent surveyors to undertake mediation and arbitration but the outcome is not compulsory
Third you could modify the steel support as it might be cheaper in the long run.

The final problem is that you may not get final Building Control approval unless this wooden partition is fire resistant. It may be that it will need to be removed and properly rebuilt, from memory it would not even have received approval in the 60s if not of 1 hour resistance.
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby grumpyhedgehog » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:38 am

Hi

The boards are nailed to our joists, from the other side.

I did contact RICS and they charge almost £400 to find a surveyor - is that worth it or should I just try to find one myself?

Building control shouldn't be an issue as we will rebuild the wall either way.

Thanks
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby cabbagewhite » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:04 pm

Is the room affected a storage space or has it been converted to a bedroom/study on their side. How much over the boundary have the boards been placed? 6 inches or a few feet?
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby Roblewis » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:28 pm

I suspect the £400 is the daily fee of a chartered surveyor as RCIS are only doing a database search. I have used the list search without fee. 2 party wall surveyors will be required, 1 each for which you will need to pay, they should be able to negotiate a solution which you and your neighbour might agree to accept in advance. Ultimately there is no ban under the PWA to prevent essential support intruding into the neighbouring property. If you are to build a brick or block dividing wall then a line of junction notice is feasible and gives a lot of scope for action against which your neighbour has no route of appeal.
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby grumpyhedgehog » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:57 pm

On their side it is an unused attic. On our side is now a loft conversion.

The floor in the lofts look like this:

My side___\___ their side

So you can see that part of their attic space is over our boundary.

I had contacted a surveyor who said they couldn't help until it was now resolved, however I have now found one who specialises in boundary disputes which sounds like just the job.

The point of the Line of junction notice is an interesting one, so we just build the wall? Can they take us to court for using their space? Personally I can't see that they would bother but I would rather resolve this amicably. They have implied that the space is theirs and they want money for it, but I dont want to pay them unless we have to.

Thanks for the help!
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby cabbagewhite » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:30 pm

So they are complaining about a few inches of storage space in the loft which is above your house? They probably would not have even noticed that when they put an offer in on their house. It doesn't sound like it would affect the value of their property at all. I would try and avoid paying for a surveyor. You are going to end up paying out more than this few inches of space is worth. It would be different if they had a bedroom on their side. That would clearly cause a degree of disruption. Moving the boxed up Christmas decorations a couple of inches wouldn't bother me that much.
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby Roblewis » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:44 pm

The whole purpose of the line of junction notice is to establish the boundary and erect a party wall. There is scope to intrude support into the neighbouring freehold. You do need a competent surveyor and I would tend to use the one you have found. Do not run in with guns blazing but try and agree what is happening, your surveyor should help. It is an oddity as a notice in that ultimately you simply serve notice of the intended dates and then proceed, but it does rest heavily on agreeing where the boundary is.
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby ukmicky » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:19 am

grumpyhedgehog wrote:On their side it is an unused attic. On our side is now a loft conversion.

The floor in the lofts look like this:

My side___\___ their side

So you can see that part of their attic space is over our boundary.

I had contacted a surveyor who said they couldn't help until it was now resolved, however I have now found one who specialises in boundary disputes which sounds like just the job.

The point of the Line of junction notice is an interesting one, so we just build the wall? Can they take us to court for using their space? Personally I can't see that they would bother but I would rather resolve this amicably. They have implied that the space is theirs and they want money for it, but I dont want to pay them unless we have to.

Thanks for the help!



You need to stop pussy footing around and forget about upsetting the neighbours . If this was a incorrectly placed garden fence this would be bad enough but its would something that you could take your time with. This is your house and when its your house you take affirmative action straight away.

This is not a flying freehold. This is simply someone trying to get something which does not belong to them and unfortunately you have to deal with it ,like it or not. The party wall runs upwards in a straight line and it should be very easy to work out where the line of junction is. The only reason why they are currently in possession of your part of the loft is because someone in their property attached something to your property preventing you from accessing the whole of your loft.

The law allows you to re-take possession of your land ,so do it. The law also allows them to then prove they should be registered as owners provided they can show they have fulfilled the criteria under adverse possession laws . However as your property is registered the law protects your interest unless you fail to challenge their legal attempt to adversely posses your property. As they are also not actually using your part of the loft for anything they have no chance at all of winning an adverse possession case .

Me I would have removed the obstruction on day one.

Tell them as its you property unless they can prove they have gained legal title to it through adverse possession, or put in an official claim at the land registry for adverse possession within 14 days you will remove the obstruction preventing you from accessing the whole of your loft and will be reinstating a divide on the line of junction. You only need to use the party wall act if you are going to extend the party wall upwards in brick or concrete . A temporary wood divide attached to your side of the party wall to secure things would not require any party wall notice to be served.

If they were to try to adversely posses your side of the loft they are in theory breaking the law because squatting in a residential building, even part of it , is illegal. You could tell them that if you wanted to scare them.

If you don't do the above go see a solicitor and get him to write them a letter warning them that you are going to remove the incorrectly placed partition but do some something, this is your actual home.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby Eliza » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:47 am

I would tend to agree with UK Micky. There is certainly no way I would pay for my own property.

I would think there must be some legal principle written down somewhere that states that a boundary is deemed to be where the base of the boundary feature concerned is.

That being that if a proper wall is placed in a garden outside - then the boundary would be where the visible base of the wall is and it wouldnt matter if the wall was leaning over, say, 1' onto your property or next doors property in the event. Then that the same principle would apply even if that leaning boundary feature is in in the interior of the property.

It sounds to me as if your neighbours are just being greedy and hoping for a bit of money they aren't entitled to. Selling someone their own property indeed!
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....
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Re: Undefined flying freehold help

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:53 am

If they were to try to adversely posses your side of the loft they are in theory breaking the law because squatting in a residential building, even part of it , is illegal.
ie it is a criminal offence so they could be arrested by the police, rather than it being just a civil wrong which would involve you taking them to court...

...hope that helps clarify the situation.

Kind regards, Mac
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